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Borana Conservancy is a game reserve, working ranch and not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation of Kenya’s Ewaso ecosystem. Resting on the Laikipia Plateau, 17 miles north of the equator and 1,800m above sea level, Borana’s 35,000-acre ranch is home to some of Kenya’s most endangered species including Grevy’s zebra, wild dogs and reticulated giraffes.
What started as a traditional farm in the early 19th Century, became one of the first ranches in Kenya to develop tourism and recognise wildlife as an asset. Borana Conservancy’s mission is to provide a sustainable ecosystem, in partnership with their neighbours and community, for critically endangered species. The conservancy is funded through a mix of livestock rearing, tourism and farm produce. By investing in the local community and showing them the benefits of tourism and wildlife conservation, Borana has gained local buy-in. The conservancy now hosts 20 black rhinos, 50 indigenous tree families and over 300 bird species.
Borana Lodge is one of East Africa’s original fully hosted, family-owned lodges, and was the first ecolodge in Laikipia. The ranch is home to the pioneering Dyer family, who for three generations have settled land in this region, and help to give the camp a homely feel. Guests are encouraged to get involved in conservation initiatives; tracking and sighting rhino with the scouts, monitoring lion movement, and even getting involved in necessary darting and collaring work.
Borana Conservancy joined The Long Run in 2015 and committed to a holistic balance of the 4Cs – Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce – as a means to contribute meaningfully to the biodiversity and the people of their local region.
Laikipia, as part of the Ewaso ecosystem, is highly biodiverse and hosts significant populations of threatened and endangered species such as lions, Grevy zebra, wild dogs, elephants, reticulated giraffes and black rhinos. Borana is one Laikipia’s leading conservancies. Started as a traditional farm and ranch early last century, Borana was one of the first ranches to develop tourism and recognise wildlife as an asset. Since then, the ranch has continuously evolved, focused on practicing sustainable rangeland management to increase vegetation cover and on collaborating with its neighbours to increase wildlife habitat. Today it hosts 20 black rhinos.
Managing the interaction between humans and wildlife is one of the core objectives of the conservancy – a harmonious balance needs to be maintained. From its start, Borana invested in its neighbouring community to share the benefits of tourism and contribute to initiate a change in the perception of wildlife by increasing its potential value to communities. To do this Borana has supported the development of community tourism enterprises, as well as a number of health and education projects.
Borana is set in rich external and internal cultural contexts, surrounded as it is by flamboyant Maasai culture and built on a long history of land stewardship. Borana is also home to the pioneering Dyer family for three generations who settled on the land at the beginning of the last century.
Borana’s model is unique: the shareholders of Borana set up the Conservancy to undertake all of the conservation and community programmes. The shareholders underwrite the core conservation costs and agree that all profits must be reinvested in the conservancy, embedding Borana’s commercial entities to underwrite the costs of the other 3Cs in the business operations. Borana’s income is derived from diverse but complementary business entities including livestock, a lodge, riding safaris and the farm. By staying at Borana guests make a tangible contribution to Kenya’s largest and most exciting Rhino Sanctuaries.